Victor’s 10 Reflections on Leadership - 5. The team goes as I go: high energy -> high engagement

Steve Rosvold 00:05

Welcome to CFO talk. I’m your host, Steve Rosvold, Chief Learning Officer at CFO.University. Joining us from Wichita, Kansas today is Victor Ojeleye to discuss another of his 10 Reflections on Leadership.

Your fifth reflection, The team goes as I go, so be high energy, high engagement. What happens when you are having a bad day? How do you keep your team from suffering from your bad day?

Victor Ojeleye 00:34

I’ll say a few things on that. One is regardless of whether you realize it or not, people are always watching you. They watch your emotions; they watch your body language. For example, if I’m checking my phone during a meeting, which I’m guilty of, my team sees that I am not 100% committed to them. I need to check that urge to keep things moving and stay connected with those who are present. People are always watching your body language. So, it’s important to be aware that your team is constantly interpreting your behaviors and actions.

Secondly, I received some feedback from a close mentor, maybe 10 years ago. They said, you never should allow your team to see your really, really bad days. You can do that at home, your family’s there to comfort you, you have things that you’re struggling with - tension and turmoil - internally, and you have a safe space for that, but you always have to present yourself as a strong leader to your team.

I would counter that with Brene Brown or others who say leaders also have to be vulnerable. So that’s the third point.

I think I fall somewhere in between those two lines of thinking, You have to continue to be present in the moment. If we have 10 meetings in a day breathe in, breathe out and focus on the next meeting, what’s the topic we’re focused on here. When I am having a bad day, I might take a walk, find something that takes my mind off of it or come back to it later. If its related to some interaction I had I might follow up the person to let them know I struggled with this topic and how we left it. The other thing I like to do is talk to family. I’m really close with my mom, she’s been an advisor personally and with work. And usually I’ll say, hey, you know, here’s something I’ve been I’ve been wrestling with, this is how I want to solve it. How do you think I should solve it? I do the same thing with other mentors, too. So, in the moment when you’re at work, you have to struggle and fight through it. It’s also okay to have a bad day, you can tell your team, hey, you know, I’m wrestling with this issue. I will try my best not to let it impact what we’re doing here. But I mean, we’re all human, right.

I tend to go for the approach of talking to the person that I was working with to revisit the issue. Not running away from it. Also making it known that, I need some time to think, time to process. If it’s at a meeting and we are getting to a point where I don’t have a good answer, I might say, let’s revisit this after we had time to think about it. There are those different styles of response that I’m again, experimenting with to say, Okay, how, how do I deal with it, but people are always watching you, and you have to do your best to bring energy.

Another example of energy for me is when I’m coaching. I realize when I’m active, when I’m talking, when I’m calling people by name, you know, when you have that palpable culture in the environment, you’re in, people feed off of that. So it’s draining, but you have to find ways to fill your cup.

Steve Rosvold 04:00 So, three things came out of that for me.

One is your focus continues to be on people, and how you interact with people and giving them energy and giving them part of your energy.

Another thing is your willingness to take feedback. I don’t know how many times you’ve said feedback already in our conversation, but you’re willing to learn from mentors, and your mentors cover a whole slew of things from the Leadership Center in Kansas State to your mom. Being able ask for and accept the advice of others is such a great leadership tool.

So, it’s a balancing act. How much do we share to maintain their trust but not burden them with all of our issues.

That wraps up this video short taken from our longer interview with Victor, Reflections on Leadership. CFO.University is a community of member scholars, companies and trusted advisors committed to the professional development of chief financial officers. Learn more about us at CFO.University.

Until next time, Enjoy. Learn. Engage.

Find Victor’s other Reflections on Leadership HERE

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